back to article Gov hits brakes on vetting scheme

Further erosion of New Labour’s Big Brother state looks likely to take place later today when Home Secretary Theresa May announces that the government is stopping implementation of the Vetting and Barring scheme (VBS), which was due to go live next month. As regular readers will be aware, this scheme required any adult who …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Empires Fall...

    It's an inevitable fact that all empires -especially those built to counter largely spectral threats - eventually disintegrate under the weight of their own irrelevance. Good to see this new Government taking a much more reasoned and pragmatic approach to issues surrounding the UK's unhealthy paedohysteria. Hopefully, more such measures to follow as the pendulum swings back in favour of common sense.

    Makes me laugh -albeit bitterly - how none of those ousted NuLabour lackies can ever admit they got things so painfully wrong as their great edifices to moral outrage get dismantled before their eyes. I guess it's just the mindset of all fallen dictatorships - a willful inability to see the error of their ways and just what things it was they did that led to their eventual downfall.

  2. Anonymous Coward

    I feel like I am dreaming, someone pinch me

    I feel like I am dreaming... Someone pinch me... Restoration of liberties? Reestablishment of "presumed innocent until proven guilty"?

    In the 21st century? There got to be a mistake here.

  3. seanj

    Irony is...

    ... a FORMER Labour Home Office Minister (especially that jumped-up trout Hillier) talking about knee-jerk reactions...

    1. Elmer Phud Silver badge

      You sure about this?

      Considerng that the apparent 'Nulabour' approach was due to the Daily Fail brigade's

      "Think of the children", Aunty Terry will be bringing in something similar but called something different.

      She'll need to as social services are dumped on local charities and local community projects to try and save money and cut as many jobs as possible. The consequences will be that any shortcomings will be laid firmly on the shoulders of local people and not traced back to those who so generously saw the shit-train coming and rerouted it to local tracks.

      We will have local charities 'failing thier local community' and convenient scapegoats found.

      It's exactly the same with education and farming it out to anyone who put on a badge with 'Teecha' on it.

  4. Graham Marsden

    You can't make this stuff up...

    I have just seen an interview with Parmjit Dhanda, the former Labour Education Minister, on BBC News 24 where he made the astonishing statements that since the scheme had already been modified this was a "knee-jerk:" reaction by the Coalition and, even more mind-boggling, that "this was a sad day for children and their parents and a good day if you were a predatory paedophile"!

    Well New Labour know all about knee-jerk reactions since they made enough of them during their time of office, but to say that getting rid of a scheme that relied on gossip, hearsay and unsubstantianted accusations to make decisions and that would assume that *everyone* who wanted to educate or help children was a potential threat to them was a "good day if you were 'a predatory paedophile" is utterly beneath contempt.

    1. Anonymous Coward


      ... what an appropriate name.

      1. Circadian


        Sorry, don't get the "appropriate name" bit. Now if the name was "Ima MeddlingBusybodyFreakingFuckwit" I might see what you were getting at.

  5. TeeCee Gold badge

    I'm seeing a pattern here.

    1) Take NuLabour registration monolith.

    2) Scrap it.

    3) Keep the cash from those who stumped up early doors.

    Conclusion: They're replacing all the little stealth taxes with a one-off arsehat tax......

  6. irish donkey

    Maybe I will volunteer at my daughter's school now

    God knows with the abandonment of Becta and all the other Labour fuelled quango's they are going to need some help and some parents are happy to give it as long as you don't treat us like Pedo's in waiting.

    Can you smell that clean air of freedom again?

  7. The Mole 1

    I'm liking this government more and more

    This government almost seems to have some common sense (perhaps it's the LibDem influence?) It was never clear why the point of this scheme was over and above the CRB check.

    Now all they need to do is make a trivial change to the CRB system so that the check is for the person and not the job and so you don't need to repeatedly get another CRB check done even thoguh you already have an up to date certificate - saving both companies and the CRB agency money.

    1. Elmer Phud Silver badge


      Yup, you're free to volunteer for as many things as you like.

      'Free' is how they want it, no cost and run by locals who only have self-interest at heart.

      Try volunteering at someone else's daughters school if you're really up for it - otherwise you are fallng for it hook, line, and sinker.

    2. John Smith 19 Gold badge


      "Conclusion: They're replacing all the little stealth taxes with a one-off arsehat tax......"

      You say it like that is a *bad* thing.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Volunteer and you have a job for life.

      The problem with many kinds of voluntary work (not all, but a substantial amount) is that the net result can all too often be that those salaried with the responsibility for the work you do are happy to sit back and watch you do it instead. Or even worse, find other uses for allocated funds.

      Not a stab at the many 1000s of very genuine volunteers who often make all the difference. Just a warning. Show you're doing it and you may well be left to do it. I'm afraid I speak from experience.

      But for me, the VBS was the last straw. As Irish Donkey said, I refused to allow decades of voluntary work to be disregarded until I could prove I wasn't a paedo. Bugger that for a game of soldiers.

      I'd love to change my tune in line with this latest announcement, but I don't trust any politicians that far. I think I'll wait and see.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Anybody see the increadibly biased pro database story on the bbc? It may not have been overt but it was defenetly pro database.

    Starting with the title "Child abuse vetting scheme halted" followed with mentioning huntley, and reinforced by making it seem as though the system was based on stopping people who are known abusers being kept out of the system.

    No mention on the reliance on soft "intelligence" e.g. slander.

    No mention of the use of psychometric testing and investigation into an individuals life style.

    No mention of the lack of recorse, no mention that it is a breach of a persons fundemental right to fair trial and rights to work.

    No mention of any of that.

    But then what else do we expect from a pro authoritarian socialist mouth piece?

    The plan will be back, Tories just like Labour can't fight (don't want to fight?) the man on the street, and the man on a street is a pig headed idiot fed shit from the arse holes of the BBC and Murdoch.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @with both employer and employee subject to substantial fines.

    And if you refused to pay them...

    1. Ed Blackshaw Silver badge

      Just remember

      The BBC usied to be (resonably) impartial - it was the previous administration who bullied them into towing the party line, so that we are now stuck with a corporation which is likely stuffed with NuLab appointees. I'd say it was a time for a good shake-up to the Beeb and the replacement of those appointees with genuinely independent journalists if we ever want to see the return of an impartial BBC. That, or accept that the BBC is hopelessly broken and scrap it, along with the TV licence.

      1. Elmer Phud Silver badge


        Ask the Tories and the BBC is stuffed with rampaging socialists

        Ask Labour and the BBC is stuffed with Tories desparate to get back tthe days of the Empire

    2. Jim Morrow

      stop whining and complain to the Beeb

      FFS! If you have a problem with a BBC news item or web page, use their complaints procedure! There's no point whining about a BBC web page here. The Beeb is usually quite good at responding to complaints about unfair or biased reporting and fixing things. It's one of the few news outlets that takes this seriously. You can even do this on-line:

      FWIW the current version of this story is well balanced. Looks like they have updated it and moved away from the pro database spin you claimed... Though it doesn't do an analysis of why the vetting scheme was a useless pile of shite dreamed up by fuckwits reacting to the latest drivel in the Daily Heil. Which is a bit hard to do in 500 words or less.

      Then again, nobody does analysis or fact checking these days. Except El Reg of course. Just look at the media's dismal record on asking questions about banking regulation, ID cards, RIPA, Child Support Agency, rail privatisation, PFI, Iraq, energy policy, university funding, defence procurement, NHS reform, pensions, the "war" on drugs/terror/illegal immigrants/welfare scroungers, etc, etc

      1. Mike Street

        Been there, done that.

        I complained to the BBC about a Roger Harrabin article, where he wrote -twice - about the 'stolen' climate change emails. I pointed out he had no evidence they had been stolen, and a leak seemed more likely.

        Sure I got a reply, essentially saying there was no evidence they weren't stolen. So, clearly, at least one BBC reporter has no use for actual evidence.

        Complain all you like to the BBC. It's was a great idea but is now run by people who have completely forgotten why it was created in the first place. Bit like the Labour Party really.

  10. JohnG Silver badge

    Meg Hitler

    "For Labour, Shadow Home Office Minister Meg Hillier MP said: "Labour had already reviewed and altered the scheme. It was never about vetting private family arrangements or infrequent contact with children."

    Much like RIPA was all about terrorism and was never to be used to spy on citizens for anything trivial. More poorly written legislation suitable for use by officials against innocent people they don't like.

  11. Evil Auditor Silver badge

    The dawn

    Finally, some common sense back in the country?

    (Just how NuLabour still made 29% in the GE is beyond imagination)

    1. James Hughes 1

      What he said....^^^^^^^

      No text

  12. Ed Blackshaw Silver badge

    I notice, however,

    That the new gubmint have not put a stop to the cash cow that is the 10-year anniversary of the introduction of driving licence photocards, and the £20 fine, errm I mean renewal fee, which every motorist who held a licence in 2000 will be paying. A quick mental calculation tells me that that particular windfall will run into the hundreds of millions. A nice little earner for the DVLA - no wonder the previous lot were so keen on introducing ID cards...

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Wasn't replacing CRBs anyway

    Even if the scheme had not been halted CRBs were still going to exist and I'd assume that most organisations that currently use them would still require them.

    Also, not quite true that the scheme had started yet ... some organisations had started to trial the new system last month (my local Scout district is one). At least at the "application" level the new scheme seems to have had a thumbs up with a much clearer form to complete from what I hear! However there's been no vetting results back yet

  14. Is it me?

    Careful Now!

    Having more than a nodding association with Vetting & Barring (VBS) from a systems point of view we should remember that it did have some good points, not least that it removed the need for an individual to have to be independently CRB cleared for each and every interaction that an individual has with an organisation covered by the requirement, every year or so. So a teacher who also runs a scout group and helps to manage their child's football club, and is perhaps also a parent governor for a different school, has to have 4 different CRB checks, as they are not transferable.

    Vetting & Barring reduces this to 1 which registered the individual and then allowed them to quote that registration when joining another organisation. The need to renew the registration was removed by the monitoring of the persons interactions with protection authorities. Thus if anything occurred that impacted their registration, like being arrested for assaulting a minor, it would automatically suspend their registration and organisations that employed that person could be informed, which is where it all starts to go horribly wrong.

    Trouble is that there are a whole raft of unintended consequences from that very simple and laudable aim. Firstly, a lot of people who volunteer do not like the idea of being vetted, even less would they like the idea of being monitored for the rest of their life, unless the Home Secretary let them off. Why might you ask was this the case, well that is because a retired teacher, say might be convicted of an abuse, so there might be a need to go back and check all former interactions with children to see if any other offences were committed, and any victim support needed. Again, a reasonable idea, well no it isn't, the civil liberties issues that arise, just from the little I've said are horrendous, not only that, but if you take what's happened with standard CRB checking, it would actually mean that virtually anybody who could possibly interact with a child or vulnerable adult would end up being checked and registered. Companies that carry out property maintenance check their employee's because they don't know which ones might have to work unsupervised on a Home.

    Also what constitutes a relevant crime, would you want a convicted thief looking after your Granny, or Child, probably not, but what were they convicted of stealing, and would they even remotely consider stealing from a child or an elderly person, probably not, and if they are over 30 they probably stopped stealing when they were in their early 20s. Ultimately a system can't make these decisions, because it can't decide to break the rules, only a human can.

    What we really need is a VBS that lessens the burdens of the CRB system, without the draconian implications of the current VBS. Here's a couple of thoughts that went through my head when looking at the system requirements and legislation. What happens if someone's registration is suspended, what assumption will most people spring too. What happens when a drunk school teacher crashes a mini-bus full of kids, do we stop all people with drink related convictions driving children? I think it goes further than just Innocent until proved guilty, because even when proved guilty, you can be redeemed, and people make mistakes with their lives.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      What we really need...

      ... is to get rid of the CRB idiocy. All Of It. And for good reason:

      Caring for children is primarily the responsibility of the parents, and if they can't do it, the CPS can take over. Yet most abuse takes place "in the family sphere", not on schools and so on. No vetting system is going to take care of that, unless you'd like to forbid people to beget children. Parents will have to take care not to let dirty uncles near their kids themselves.

      So "getting clearance" is going to be taking care of corner cases at best, and in situations where there'll be social oversight most of the time anyway. No teacher is going to abuse kids in front of thirty other kids. But even so, you never can reduce abuse to zero, and no system will be without false positives. I think the cost of rumours databases will always outweigh the benefits, if any. So the only thing that makes sense for the government is to game the system such that you reduce the chance of non-parents being close and alone with kids, and to make sure the parents are trained to deal with possible abuse.

      That last bit because, like with latent suicides, unless you've seen it before or have been told what to look for, people easily miss the signs. If you view the government as an enabler, as an entity empowering parents with the tools and knowledge to carry out their responsibilities of raising their children, it suddenly makes no sense to try and have the government do their job for them. Nevermind doing it badly with clumsy databases and stupid rulery.

      So I say, no sense trying to fix a bad system. Do away with the vetting entirely.

    2. teacake

      @Is it me?

      Laudable to want to reduce the burden of having to be CRB-checked for every job, but it fell at that first hurdle, since the CRB check covered slightly different ground, and most employers would have ended up having to do the CRB check as well as the VBS check.

  15. James Pickett


    I don't often have anything nice to say about politicians, but I could hug Theresa May. Watching the opposition digging itself into ever bigger holes is quite good fun, too...

  16. Greenchutes

    What has the world come to...

    When I feel a small sense of relief about legislation amended by the bloody Tories. I guess it just shows how despicable the last lot had become.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    NuLab just doesn't get...

    ..that they're not in power any more and that their ideas have been rejected. It's like when they were beaten in the Scottish Parliamentary elections - it took months for them to realise that they weren't in power any more, and it took a talking-to from their leader at the time to make them realise their defeat.

    Still, as others have pointed out, Campbell's emasculation of the BBCs impartiality is still working for them. :-(

  18. Simon Millard

    Only useful...

    ...if a person has been caught.

    If you don't get caught, you won't be reported on.

  19. John Smith 19 Gold badge

    The rise of Meg Hiller

    ID card scheme hits the skids, she's still doing her thing with vetting people. Seems to be the goto goonette for this sort of thing.

    I knew dumping a candidate with here majority was never going to be easy but you'd think she'd keep her head down and distance herself from any of the Blair/Brown spy on everyone forever madness.

    But oh not dear old Meg's.

    With someone this addicted to collecting information on databases she must either be spotless or *very* confident that nothing can be dug up and used against her.

    Some journalists (and others) would view that as a personal challenge.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Those posting in favour of NuLabour here should bear something in mind. Nulabour had an approach to almost everything that had nothing to do with socialism, nothing to do with common sense and everything to do with pig headed ignorance.

    Take a look at their whole approach to vetting, CRB and the general area of the prevention of crime. They had an idea to prevent crime and sex crime in particular and the sexual abuse of children specifically. They implemented this idea, even though it was fundamentally flawed. Paedophiles and other criminals slipped through the net so what did they do? Did they; a) go back to the drawing board and formulate a better system; or b) implement more of the same. They then repeated the process again every time a paedophile made the front pages of the tabloids. "We're right, we know we're right and the fact that our system isn't working must be down to the fact that it isn't draconian enough." Seems to be the NuLabour approach to everything. The possibility that they might be wrong does not seem to have crossed their minds in 13 years.

    The NuLabour approach is:

    1) Acknowledge problem (good start).

    2) Formulate plan.

    3) Implement plan.

    4) Wait until something goes wrong.

    5) Strengthen plan formulated in 2.

    6) Goto 3.

    I wonder how far they would have had to go before they admitted it was a bloody stupid idea. Yes it would probably have worked in the end, but only because the final step would have been to make everybody stay at home and never, ever leave the house.

  21. James Pickett
    Big Brother


    "The possibility that they might be wrong does not seem to have crossed their minds in 13 years"

    The amusing thing is that it still doesn't, now that some common sense is prevailing!

    WRT the CRB system, I would remind anyone listening that it is still run by Crapita, possibly the most inept consultancy firm on the planet, who have thus far wrongly identified several thousand applicants as criminals, ruining their jobs/prospects/lives for ever (who's going to believe that your record has suddenly become clean?) and putting even more people off working with children because of the NL 'guilty until proven innocent' culture arising.

    One effect is that there are now almost no male teachers in the primary school system.

    Scrap all of it - we managed before!

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